Thirty years ago, on January 27, 1985, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held a special fast. During the fast, they voluntarily abstained from eating and drinking for two consecutive meals in a 24-hour period and then contributed the money they would have spent on food to those in need.
The fast raised $6 million to help famine victims in Ethiopia. That same year, a second fast in November raised another $5 million for refugee hunger relief. These fasts marked the beginning of what would become LDS Charities.
In the past 30 years, LDS Charities has been involved in thousands of projects to aid refugees—donating food, shelter, medical supplies, clothing, and other needed relief items. In addition, LDS Charities has offered long-term aid worldwide through initiatives that provide wheelchairs, clean water, family nutrition, vision care, maternal and newborn care, and immunizations.
LDS Charities has partnered with numerous reputable humanitarian organizations throughout the world to make the most of all donations. The first of these partnerships was with Catholic Relief Services in 1985.
Dean Walker, signature programs manager for LDS Charities, said of these partnerships: “There is a magnifying power of working together with other organizations to accomplish the humanitarian work of LDS Charities. We have seen so many times how much more effective we are as we partner with others to accomplish the common goal of serving those in need.”
Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has said repeatedly that members of the Church have a responsibility to extend help to the hungry, homeless, and downtrodden. Without much fanfare or formal thanks, members of the LDS Church have contributed their time, talents, and funds in order to fulfill that responsibility. In addition to contributing to the humanitarian fund, they have made philanthropic gifts through LDS Philanthropies, served as volunteers worldwide, reached out to friends and neighbors, and given their time and love to thousands of local organizations.
LDS Charities celebrates 30 years of service, as well as their partnerships with humanitarian organizations, volunteers, and members of the LDS Church that have made their work possible.